Artwork by Liliya Drubetskaya
I'll be completely honest. My first time in the tank was lackluster. It was stuffy, which caused my sinuses to revolt. I couldn't figure out the air vent button thingy because the spa guy didn't explain its function well enough. Then there was the issue of my arms. I couldn't figure out WHAT THE HELL TO DO WITH MY ARMS. Up above my head? That feels weird and strained. At my sides? Great, now I'm touching my sides. That's distracting. Folded across my chest? Now I feel like some kind of aquatic vampire.
I felt like I was counting the minutes and every minute took forever. I couldn't relax. My damn arms, where should I put them? Why can't I relax? Why is my neck so tense? My head must weigh 50 pounds. Maybe I didn't push the button hard enough. Do I hear footsteps?
It felt hopeless. I figured I was just one of those people that didn't get it. I'll put this on the shelf of "things I can't do" right in between meditation and handstands.
But here's the thing - since I began researching floatation therapy, I've read nearly a dozen statements to the effect of "it sometimes takes multiple floats to start getting it." On average it takes three, but there are some people that need just one while others need twelve. The point is, if you stick with it - you WILL get it and it will benefit you in profound ways. Humans are no longer accustomed to pure relaxation. Letting go takes practice!
Often the people that need floating most are those that have the most trouble early on. The people that truly NEED intensive relaxation are those less likely to give into it right away. When the stress machine is traveling full bore, it's difficult to derail it.
So I tried floating again, about a month after my first float. This float was courtesy of Dakota Float Spa, and it was everything I'd hoped it would be.
The tank was meticulously monitored. The temperature was perfect. No stuffiness, no sinus issues. Relaxation came easy this time. I experienced none of the same tenseness in the neck or awkwardness with my arms.
This is the difference between a TRUE floatation spa, and a full service wellness center that offers a floatation tank as a novelty. A true floatation spa is constantly striving to perfect the environment within the tank. This goes way beyond cleanliness and sanitation. Maintaining the "feel" of the tank is truly a labor of love.
My experience at Dakota Float Spa was... everything I'd hoped for.
It's true what they say, once you begin to relax into the session it feels a lot like that space in between being asleep and awake. I kept "catching" myself drifting away. As in, forgetting about my body, my ego, my everything. I experienced moments of infinity. Pure nothingness. My 90 minute session was over in what seemed like 20 minutes. Time truly flies in the tank.
Most importantly, I learned a few things about myself during the session. I became fully aware of some burdens I'd been carrying around in my head. Burdens that affected my life by influencing my expectations of others. It was really profound. Hard to believe such a thing is possible in only 90 minutes - but it is true. I have been much more aware of some of my more destructive behavioral tendencies since my tank session. Being aware gives me more power to change things.
When you leave the tank after such a session, the world seems more colorful and bright. Food tastes better. Your skin glows and you feel an overwhelming sense of peace and relaxation I know it sounds absolutely cheeseballs, but it's true. These benefits last for days and have a cumulative effect. That's not anecdotal evidence, that is science.
Do yourself a favor and try it sometime. Better yet, try it at least twice.